The word dukkha comes from the Sanskrit roots dus, which is a prefix meaning "bad," and kha, which originally meant “hole [as in an axel's hole]." Having a poor axel hole would lead to discomfort; hence, suffering and dukkha.
As well as more general “suffering,” dukkha encompasses a wide range of negative concepts, including pain, sadness, anxiety, frustration and dissatisfaction. There are generally considered to be three types of dukkha:
- The mental and physical suffering that comes as a natural part of life (i.e. growing older, becoming ill and dying).
- The anxiety or stress that is caused when we try to cling to things that are impermanent.
- Dissatisfaction, which pervades all of life due to its transient and changing nature.
Buddhism and yoga teach understanding and knowledge as a way to gain freedom from dukkha. Yoga practice seeks to help the individual transcend the self and the senses so they may become liberated from the things that cause dukkha and come closer to moksha, or "spiritual freedom."